You’ve heard about mindful eating, but what about mindful sex? That’s the idea behind Tantric sex, and even Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle publication Goop is talking about it these days. Tantra, which means “to weave energy” between two lovers in Sanskrit, is meant to enhance both pleasure and orgasm—um, sound ahhhh-mazing, no? Tantra is a very emotionally intimate practice, so it’s great for long-term relationships, says sex therapist Ava Cadell, Ph.D., author of Neuroloveology. But it’s also useful for casual dating, she says. “Even oral sex in Tantra is called ‘honoring your partner,'” says Cadell. “It becomes so intense, your one-night stand might fall in love with you!” Geez!
Ready to get going (and going…and going…and going)? Here, a quick debriefing on Tantra before you and your partner de-brief yourselves:
You want to share your breath in a way that enhances your intimacy and can boost your orgasm. “The faster you breathe, the quicker you orgasm,” says Cadell. “This is especially true for men but also applies to women.” In Tantra, you slow down your breathing and engage in different exercises to share what Cadell calls your “life force energy.” An easy way to start is by getting in “tab yum” position, also known as woman on top (the most powerful Tantric position, according to Cadell!). Put your hands on each other’s hearts and synchronize your breaths so one person breathes in while the other breathes out. You can even do it into each other’s mouths while looking into each other’s eyes. “That creates a breath connection and a soul connection through your gaze,” says Cadell. “And if he’s inside you, you obviously have the sexual connection.”
“Everybody knows touch does healthy things like promote blood flow and boost the immune system,” says Cadell. To maximize these benefits, incorporate a Tantric massage into your foreplay. Have your partner lie completely naked. Cover your body in your favorite lotion or oil, whatever has the aroma that’s most arousing to you, recommends Cadell. Then use your entire body to massage your partner. You can start by breathing all over various erogenous zones, then use your hair, then move on to your breasts, stomach, and nether region. “This is a win-win, because it’s about mutual respect and harmony,” says Cadell. “It becomes a kind of dance and the giver and receiver both feel good.”
Sound, says Cadell, is like an inner massage. “It affects the cells in your body that respond to vibrations and release energy,” she says. Although you may get loud when you have sex, you might not realize the power that’s behind those noises. “Releasing all those ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and ‘mms’ lets your partner know you’re having a great time and helps you have a more intense orgasm,” says Cadell, who suggests avoiding silent sex because it’s like removing one of your senses during the act. To try something new, any time your mouth is on your partner’s body, hum a little tune to create an intensifying vibration. Cadell especially recommends sucking on a man’s nipple and humming while you do so—the sensation is foreign but amazing to many guys. Even better, he’ll likely return the favor!
Time to talk about kegels! “The most intense enjoyment for men is when a woman is squeezing her muscles during penetration,” says Cadell. The thing is, you can’t just start squeezing away during sex and expect mind-blowing results; you’ve got to practice kegels on your own every day so your muscles can get stronger and really make an impression. Just think of it as another workout.
“Where intention goes, energy flows,” says Cadell. What she means is that your intention before and during sex is what directs how the sex is going to go. “As women, we usually intend to satisfy our lover,” she says. “I promise that if your intention is instead for you to be sexually confident and release your inner goddess, the more exciting it is for a man.” So basically, your intention during Tantric sex (and all sex, really) should be to “experience as much pleasure as the universe has to offer you and just abandon inhibitions,” says Cadell. One easy way to do this is mutual masturbation. The intention is arousing yourself, but a big bonus is that doing so will excite your partner, as well.
This is about being completely present in the moment, which can be hard to manage if your mind is prone to drifting elsewhere during sex. To make sure you’re focused on the right thing, Cadell recommends asking your partner permission to look into each other’s souls by looking into his eyes. (Hear us out here.) If he says yes, tell your partner what you see. “You want to give emotional compliments, physical compliments, and sexual compliments,” says Cadell. “Maybe what you see is a beautiful lover, someone who really appreciates you, or a person who is very loyal.” Of course, this is best for a long-term relationship—it’s a bit intense for something that isn’t quite as serious. So if it sounds uncomfortable to you, you can concentrate instead on exploring men’s hidden erogenous zones like the “million dollar point,” the spot between his testicles and anus. Cadell suggests wetting two fingers and massaging the area, which should live up to its namesake and make the guy feel like he’s worth a million bucks. He should also focus on exploring your body for surprising spots that yield a lot of pleasure, since the point of Tantra is for both people to walk away satisfied.
The End Goal
One of the main benefits of Tantra is expanding your pleasure and, hopefully, your orgasm when you eventually give into it. It’s about getting to the brink of ultimate pleasure and reeling it in right before you go over the edge. Think of the previous six ingredients as your Tantra secret weapons: You incorporate them throughout the action, and then when you get close to orgasm, you stop, breathe, and look into each other’s eyes to focus your attention. “If you have a pleasure scale from one to 10, every time you reach nine, you both stop with the intention of continuing to have pleasure but not reach climax yet,” says Cadell. “It’s a beautiful thing to do together. And if one of you does accidentally come, that’s okay, because practice makes perfect!”